Former unified junior welterweight titleholder Amir Khan and former welterweight titlist Luis Collazo both want the same thing -- a shot at pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr.
There is no guarantee either will get the opportunity, but they can go a long way in making their case when they fight each other on the undercard of Mayweather's welterweight unification fight with Marcos Maidana on May 3 (Showtime pay-per-view) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Khan-Collazo will meet in a scheduled 12-round bout, Golden Boy Promotions announced Monday. The fight will serve as the co-feature on the Mayweather-Maidana pay-per-view and adds a high-profile bout to the card.
"Both Amir Khan and Luis Collazo have made it known that they want a shot at the winner of the fight between Floyd Mayweather and Marcos Maidana, so what better way for them to prove that they're next," Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer said.
Khan believed he was going to get the May fight with Mayweather, so much that he pulled out of a December title shot against Devon Alexander. But Maidana upset Adrien Broner to win a welterweight title in December and Mayweather picked Maidana instead. Mayweather said that if Khan wanted to fight him, he would have to earn it and encouraged him to fight on his undercard.
So Khan (28-3, 19 KOs), 27, of England, took him up on it, and the fight with Collazo (35-5, 18 KOs), 32, of Brooklyn, N.Y., was made.
Idle since April, Khan is in need of an impressive performance after going 2-2 in his last four bouts. In December 2011, he lost a controversial decision and his junior welterweight title to Lamont Peterson and then got knocked out by Danny Garcia in a July 2012 title fight. He has won twice since, stopping Carlos Molina in the 10th round and outpointing Julio Diaz despite getting knocked down, but struggled in both fights.
"I'm looking forward to fighting in Las Vegas once again, and my intention on May 3 is to make a statement that I belong on this big stage," said Khan, who will be fighting at the 147-pound welterweight limit for the first time. "Luis Collazo might be coming off of a big win, but I am in incredible shape and am ready for this challenge. A win on May 3 is what I need to prove that I truly am one of the best welterweights in the sport."
Collazo, who held a welterweight world title from 2005 to 2006, put himself back in the title picture with his fourth win in a row on Jan. 30, knocking out former titleholder Victor Ortiz -- a past Mayweather victim -- in the second round.
"Defeating Victor Ortiz in January was just the beginning," Collazo said. "Facing and beating Amir Khan on the biggest stage in the sport is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I will take full advantage of this and put myself in the best position to face the winner of the main event. I hope Khan is ready because Brooklyn is coming to take him down."
The last time Khan and Collazo boxed in Las Vegas they each lost. Khan suffered a fourth-round knockout to Garcia, and Collazo lost a near-shutout decision to Shane Mosley in 2007.
Schaefer said the bout was finalized over the weekend and that both fighters realize the opportunity they have to make a statement on Mayweather's undercard.
"Collazo is coming off the great performance against Victor. He's flying high, and he is ready. He wanted a big fight," Schaefer said. "He's not only getting a big fight but getting a big fight on the biggest stage in boxing. He's been waiting for it, and now here it comes.
"For Amir Khan to move up and fight a natural welterweight, a former champion, certainly shows that he's serious about making noise in the 147-pound division. Amir and [trainer] Virgil [Hunter] don't want to just win. They want to make a big statement. I know Amir is fired up. Collazo is fired up. It's a terrific addition to the card and shows the commitment from Floyd to make these big fights happen and to put together these stacked cards. Floyd's nickname is 'Money,' and that is what it took to make this fight."
Schaefer said although there is no commitment from Mayweather to fight the Khan-Collazo winner if he beats Maidana, the winner will be in prime position. Mayweather is slated to fight again in September.
"Look what's happened in the past," Schaefer said. "You saw Canelo [Alvarez] fighting on Floyd's undercards, and he got the fight with him [and lost in September]," Schaefer said. "Being on a Floyd card, where you have huge amounts of people watching, increases your popularity in the U.S."
The two other undercard bouts that will be part of the pay-per-view are not finalized yet but should be this week.
Fights in the works are Broner against Molina in a junior welterweight fight and super middleweight J'Leon Love against Marco Antonio Periban.
Broner (27-1, 22 KOs), 24, of Cincinnati, is planning to drop down in weight in the wake of his welterweight title loss to Maidana in December. Molina (17-1-1, 7 KOs), 28, of Norwalk, Calif., has not fought since Khan stopped him in the 10th round in December 2012.
Love (17-0, 10 KOs), 26, of Detroit, is a Mayweather protégé coming off a dominant 10th-round knockout win against Vladine Biosse on Feb. 28. Periban (20-1-1, 13 KOs), 29, of Mexico, is as rugged a fighter as they come. He lost a majority decision to Sakio Bika challenging for a vacant super middleweight world title in June and followed with a draw against Badou Jack, another Mayweather-promoted fighter, in September.